The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday announced it has foiled an attempt to sabotage the Feb. 8 elections by arresting during an operation two would-be suicide bombers planning to target Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Aimal Wali Khan.
In a press conference, CTD Superintendent of Police Najamul Hussain said both detained men hailed from the Matni area and were affiliated with Daesh Khorasan. He further alleged both individuals were planning to hamper the electoral process by staging suicide attacks targeting key political figures.
Among the politicians in the crosshairs of the militants are Fazl and Khan, who would be targeted with a suicide bombing at a campaign rally. JUIF rallies have already been targeted multiple times since the announcement of the election schedule, with authorities confirming there was a specific alert of threats to his life.
According to Hussain, the detained suspects had already visited a JUIF office for reconnaissance. Investigations, he said, had revealed they trained in the Paktia region of Afghanistan.
The security operation that nabbed the suspects also recovered suicide jackets, three hand grenades, and propaganda material associated with Daesh, said the police official. He said the bomb disposal unit (BDU) has successfully neutralized all weapons and explosive devices found at the site.
Referring to Daesh, Hussain said the banned group had been linked to targeted killings of individuals representing various schools of thought in the region last year.
The police official also announced that authorities had made progress in identifying the individual responsible for planting a bomb on Warsak Road in December. He claimed the arrest of the terrorist involved in the explosion was imminent.